ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) applauds and celebrates the U.S. Senate's passage of HR 34, the 21st Century Cures Act, legislation that sets a foundation for improving mental health care for millions of Americans. With the Senate's passage, HR 34 now goes to President Obama's desk for final signature into law.
Every day, NAMI hears firsthand from people and families struggling to access mental health services and supports. The consequences of lack of mental health care are frequently tragic, including homelessness, hospitalizations, suicides and unnecessary incarceration. HR 34 contains a number of provisions designed to improve access to needed care and foster recovery.
"This is a pivotal milestone on the road to mental health reform," said Mary Giliberti, NAMI's Chief Executive Officer. "By passing HR 34, the House and Senate have shown that they consider fixing our nation's broken mental health system to be a national priority. We are grateful for their dedication to getting this important legislation passed. This momentum must be sustained and strengthened as Congress moves forward."
HR 34 incorporates advances to shift mental health care in the right direction by breaking down barriers for individuals and families to access mental health services, expanding the availability of effective services and focusing on improving outcomes. HR 34 will also improve integration and program coordination across multiple federal agencies that serve people with mental illness and remove discriminatory impediments to mental health care. Finally, HR 34 addresses the needs of people with mental illness who become entangled in the criminal justice system.
"NAMI congratulates the U.S. Senate for their significant efforts to improve mental health care in this country. We are particularly grateful to Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and John Cornyn (R-TX), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) for their leadership. Congress has clearly heard the hundreds of thousands of messages from NAMI advocates and members of the mental health community who never faltered in their call for improving programs and removing federal barriers to mental health care," Giliberti said.
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
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SOURCE National Alliance on Mental Illness